Hearing of 14-Year-Old Accused Of Killing Mother Continues Thursday

(Memphis) Juvenile court judge Dan Michael upheld his decision to suppress the confession of Jonathan Ray during a hearing Wednesday.

The prosecution asked the judge to rehear the issue after the judge ruled 14-year-old Ray was not read his Miranda rights before confessing to his mother’s murder.

Ray is accused of setting a fire that killed his mother in April at their Shelby County home, which was located off of Bethay Drive.

“He’s a kid and he’s emotional and he’s a kid with developmental problems,” said Ray’s attorney, public defender Robert Gowen.

In court Wednesday, a judge considered evidence and testimony before deciding if Ray will be tried as an adult.

Several people testified, including a Shelby County fire marshall about accelerants found in the fire debris by the TBI.

Ray’s stepfather, James Wallace, testified that Ray and his mother were in a disagreement the night before the fire about a Kindle. Ray was found to be making calls on the Kindle after his cell phone had been taken the week before.

Wallace said that Ray’s punishment was not talking to his girlfriend for two weeks.

Ray’s family declined to talk on camera today, but said in court they would like to see Ray’s case heard in juvenile court.

“It’s what the family wants. On both sides: on the father’s and mother’s side. Everyone is united that they don’t want this kid to go to prison and some reason the state still is seeking that option,” said Gowen.

“They’re in a particular tough spot because they’ve lost one, and if he goes somewhere, they don’t get to see them, they lose two,” said Dan Byer, the prosecutor from the Shelby County District Attorney’s officer.

Court will resume Thursday morning, as a judge decides whether the case will be heard in juvenile or criminal court.

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